Week Forty-One Summary and Practice
Sunday, October 10—Friday, October 15, 2021
Perhaps once we can see God in plants and animals, we might learn to see God in our neighbors. And then we might learn to love the world. —Richard Rohr
When we merge our internal rhythms with the rhythms of creation, we develop grace in our movement, and without thought or effort we are able to slide into the perfectly choreographed dance of life. —Sherri Mitchell
I don’t think that Western civilization realizes what a high price we pay for separating ourselves from the natural world. One of the prices is certainly a lack of a sort of natural contemplation, a natural seeing. —Richard Rohr
Life is a sacred circle. When we gather in a circle, the praying has already begun. When we gather in a circle, we communicate with each other and with Great Mystery, even without a word being spoken. —Randy Woodley
My mother prayed as a Native American. That meant she saw living as praying and praying as living. She tried to pray her life. —José Hobday
Humility is acknowledging that I am not separate from creation; I am a part of a web of life. I have been taught that this mutual dependence is a gift. Life is a gift. —Sarah Augustine
Laying Hands on Mother Earth
Steven Charleston is a member of the Choctaw Nation and an Episcopal bishop. In his book Ladder to the Light, he offers practices drawn from the meeting point of his Christian faith and Native American spirituality. Here he adapts a practice known as “laying on of hands.”
In order to receive the exchange offered by Native American tradition, we must put down the idea that the earth is nothing more than a vast accumulation of natural resources. Instead, we must see the earth as a living presence. We must recognize the interrelatedness of all life and begin to actively engage in protecting and learning from all our relations. . . .
They call it a laying on of hands. In many faith traditions, when prayers of healing are offered, people place their hands on the patient. I have decided to do that for someone, and I am inviting you to join me. The patient is our Mother Earth. She is struggling to recover from the effects of toxic poisoning and exhaustion. I am going to intentionally lay my hand on her and say, “Thank you, Mother, for all you have given us. Be healed of all that harms you.” It is only a symbol, but symbols have power. Please share my invitation. If every person on our planet went outside to lay hands on the earth and ask for healing, it might inspire us all to act, to work, to give for the sake of our Mother.
Experience a version of this practice through video and sound.
Steven Charleston, Ladder to the Light: An Indigenous Elder’s Meditations on Hope and Courage (Broadleaf Books: 2021), 140–141.
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